The weather forecast this week makes my tomato plants a little happier than it does me, but the one thing I do love about ninety-degree weather is the food that comes along with it.
Give me ALL the fresh flavors.
This is the season where I put basil into everything, yes, even my lemonade, and try to eat as many berries and melons as I possibly can.
I am also having a rebound with my sun-dried tomato romance and it is playing a major role in this panini, which just so happens to be my new favorite sandwich.
Paninis are such a wonderful invention because they feel semi-elegant and are absolutely hipster-approved, but are just about one of the simplest dinners around. It’s delicious deception. What’s not to like?
We bought this panini press shortly after our wedding and we love it, but if you do not want to shell out the cash for a fancy press that is (admittedly) a little bulky to store, feel free to use your favorite nonstick skillet and top your sandwiches with a heavy plate and a weight or cast-iron skillet. It’s a little makeshift, but it works and Alton Brown would be proud.
Now, on to the sandwiches themselves.
We begin by making a simple, 4-ingredient sun-dried tomato butter that is one of the best things to ever come out of my food processor. Seriously, it’s amazing. There is so much flavor and it is such a versatile condiment. I recommend keeping it on hand all summer long. It is amazing tossed into pasta or grilled vegetables!
You can make it several days in advance and keep it in the refrigerator to make this panini even faster!
The butter is slathered on both sides of your favorite sandwich bread (I happen to love the ciabatta buns from Trader Joe’s right now), then we top with fresh basil, prosciutto, and gruyere. I love gruyere because it melts so wonderfully and never fails to provide a good cheese-pull. Yes, cheese-pull, it’s a technical term. You guys know what I’m talking about and nothing is more satisfying.
We press the heck out of this sandwich until the bread is golden and the cheese is melted. And then? Well, then we’re done because this meal is just that simple.
Monday just got a little better.
Sun-Dried Tomato Butter Paninis with Prosciutto, Basil & Gruyere
makes two sandwiches
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 ciabatta buns, sliced
4 slices prosciutto
4 large leaves fresh basil
6 ounces gruyere, sliced
Combine sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil, and salt in the work bowl of your food processor and pulse several times; until the tomatoes are in fine pieces. Add butter and pulse on high speed until the mixture is smooth.
Cook’s Note: At this point, butter can be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to a week.
Butter both sides of each ciabatta bun with the prepared butter and layer with prosciutto, basil, and several slices of gruyere. Press the sandwich using a panini press, or fry in a small, nonstick frying pan with a little butter.
When the bread is golden and well-toasted, slice the sandwiches and serve immediately.